BC RCMP announced today they will be establishing COVID-19 Travel Restriction Road Checks at select locations starting this Thursday, May 6, as part of the provincial ban on non-essential travel.
Road Checks will be located at:
- Highway 1 in the Boston Bar area;
- Highway 3 in the Manning Park area;
- Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area;
- Highway 99 in the Lillooet area.
Police said signage will be in place informing travellers of upcoming road check locations and providing safe u-turn routes should motorists determine that their travel is not essential and wish to avoid the road check. Commercial vehicles will not be subject to road checks.
At the road check locations, officers “will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel.”
If an officer determines that a person is travelling for non-essential reasons “they will be directed to leave the region.”
Those refusing to do so may face fines under the Emergency Program Act, including $230 for not complying with the requirements of a road check and a $575 fine for violating the travel order.
In finalizing the details around the restrictions last week, BC’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the restrictions apply to everyone in BC, including non-essential visitors from outside of the province.
The restrictions are in place until May 25.
For the purpose of these restrictions, the province has also combined some of BC’s health authorities together in order to create “regional zones.”
“People will be able to travel within the region or combined region in which they reside, but not out of their region or combined region,” Farnworth said.
Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health, which encompasses the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley, will be considered one health region. Interior Health and Northern Health will make up another regional zone. The third and final zone will be Vancouver Island, which has been slightly adjusted. People are still encouraged, however, to stay within their local community.
Farnworth says that there are many exemptions to the travel restrictions, including travel for work, school, and the transportation of goods.
The reasons that are considered “essential” for travelling between health districts include:
- Returning to your principal residence, moving or helping someone move
- Work, both paid and unpaid (volunteer)
- Commercial transportation of goods
- Getting healthcare or social services or helping someone get those services
- Court appearance, complying with a court order or parole check-in
- Shared custody agreement
- Childcare services
- Attending school at a post-secondary institution
- Responding to a critical incident, like search and rescue operations
- Providing care to a person because of a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment
- Providing care or assistance to a person who is seriously ill, disabled or has a physical or cognitive impairment
- Visiting a resident (as an essential visitor) at:
- A community care facility licensed under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act that provides long term care within the meaning of section 2 of the Residential Care Regulation
- A private hospital licensed under the Hospital Act
- A non-profit institution that has been designated as a hospital under the Hospital Act and is operated primarily for the reception and treatment of persons requiring extended care at a higher level than that generally provided in a private hospital licensed under the Hospital Act
- Attending a funeral
Camping is not considered a reason for essential travel, and the recreational trips will need to be cancelled if they are outside of someone’s health authority. George Heyman, the minister in charge of BC Parks, is working to ensure that anyone who has booked a camping reservation outside of their health authority will be refunded for their booking.
Ferry travel within BC
BC Ferries has announced that it will deny customers who are travelling for non-essential reasons on the following routes, which cross between regional zones:
- Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
- Tsawwassen – Duke Point
- Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
- Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
- Comox – Powell River
- Port Hardy – Prince Rupert
BC Ferries will also not be scheduling extra sailings for the May long weekend.
The provincial government will be installing signs on highways and along the provincial border with Alberta, urging that visitors do not come into BC unless it is for essential purposes.